The Rally of South Africa was a one-man show as South Africa’s Hergen Fekken was imperious on his way to victory in the two-day rally held in Mpumalanga province.
It was also the second round of the Africa Rally Championship.
Fekken and co-driver Peirre Arries gave their Toyota Etios R4 its first outting in the region.
They won twelve of fifteen stages in the rally to post the fastest time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 30 seconds for the rally win.
The South African showed his early intent with a commanding pace on day one topping all the day’s stages to carry a 37 seconds lead over Kenya’s Manvir Baryan.
He maintained his pace into day two; losing only three stages with a suspension mishap in stage twelve.
“I think we did quite well throughout the event. I only got to drive this car on Thursday and it was my first time in a left hand drive car after four years; and for that fact a four wheel drive,” said Fekken in an interview with ColIn Hastie.
Fekken and Arries collected maximum 50 points on the ARC.
Kenya’s Manvir Baryan was equally on top of his game maintaining his second position, sealing it along with two stage wins on the final day. He finished 38 seconds behind Fekken.
However, his ARC winning streak was broken. Manvir, in his Skoda Fabia R5, has secured only victory in all regional events he has taken on except Kenya.
“It was a good event for us. We had no issues apart from in one stage in the morning where we overshot a corner.
“We have not got maximum points but we are happy with the second position,” he said.
Baryan and Sturrock collected 36 points to extend their ARC lead. They sit top with 86 points after round two.
South Africa’s Guy Boterrill and Simon Vacy Lyle in a Toyota Etios R2 were gifted a third overall position after Zambia’s Leroy Gomes (Ford Fiesta R5) suffered a puncture in stage twelve; losing more than two minutes that dropped him to fourth position.
Gomes and Urshlla, however, finished third in the ARC classification.
Ismail Shermohamed and Matt Kohler completed the top five overall positions.
The ARC now heads to Zambia. The third round will run from June 7-9.